Arepo

Arepo's Comments

Is it possible to change user name?

Is that an intentional policy, or just a feature that hasn't been implemented yet?

If intentional, could you say why? Obviously it could be confusing, but there are some substantial downsides to preventing it.

80,000 Hours: Anonymous contributors on flaws of the EA community

I'm not sure how public the hiring methodology is, but if it's fully public then I'd expect the candidates to be 'lost' before the point of sending in a CV.

If it's less public that would be less likely, though perhaps the best candidates (assuming they consider applying for jobs at all, and aren't always just headhunted) would only apply to jobs that had a transparent methodology that revealed a short hiring process.

Forum update: Tags are live! Go use them!

I think this will make the forum far more useful. Could you add some kind of taglist (or prominent link to one) to the home page?

Tips for overcoming low back pain

I wonder if there's a case for carrying heavier loads on your front if you can't easily use hands only. It seems counterintuitive, since that would pull you forward into a hunch, but maybe what matters would be working your posterior chain rather than the actual posture it temporarily puts you in.

What are the best arguments for an exclusively hedonistic view of value?

I've got a very slowly in-progress multipart essay attempting to definitively answer this question without resort to (what we normally mean by) intuition: http://www.valence-utilitarianism.com/posts/choose-your-preference-utilitarianism-carefully-part-1

80,000 Hours: Anonymous contributors on flaws of the EA community

Kudos to 80K for both asking and publishing this. I think I literally agree with every single one of these (quite strongly with most). In particular, the hiring practices criticism - I think there was a tendency especially with early EA orgs to hire for EAness first and competence/experience second, and that this has led to a sort of hiring practice lock in where they value the characteristics if not to the same degree then with a greater bias than a lean efficiency-minded org should have.

A related concern is overinterviewing - I read somewhere (unfortunately I can't remember the source) the claim that the longer and more thorough your interview process, the more you select for people with the willingness and lack of competition for their time to go through all those steps.

This (if I'm right) would have the quadruple effect of wasting EAs' times, which you'd hope would be counterfactually valuable, wasting the organisations' times, ditto, potentially reducing the fidelity of the hiring practice, and of increasing the aforementioned bias towards willingness.

I find this forum increasingly difficult to navigate
Re: searching for great posts, there is also an archive page where you can order by top and other things in the gear menu.

Ok, that's quite a lot more helpful than I'd realised - why not make it more prominent though? I didn't see these options even when actively looking for them, and even knowing they're there, unless I deep link to the page as someone above suggested, it's several clicks to reach where I want to be. Though (more on this below), the 'top' option is the only one I can see myself ever using.

Can you say more about how you used the old forum? I’m hearing something like “A couple of times per year I’d look at the top-posts list and read new things there”. (I infer a couple of times per year because once you’ve done it once or twice I’d guess you’ve read all the top posts.) I think that’s still very doable using the archive feature.

I mainly used the 'top posts in <various time periods>' option (typically the 1 or 3 month options, IIRC); median time between visits was probably something like 1-3 months, so that fit pretty well. That said, even on the old forum I strongly wished for a way to filter by subject. Honestly, my favourite forums for UX were probably the old phpBB style ones, where you'd have forums devoted to arbitrarily many subtopics. I don't think they're anywhere near the pinnacle of forum design, but 'subtopic' is such an important divider, that I feel much less clear on how I can get value from a forum without it (which is part of why I've never spent a huge amount of time on the EA forums - though a bigger part is just not having much time to spare)

To a lesser degree, I found the metadata on who'd been active recently. It let me pseudo-follow certain users (though I suspect an actual follow function would be more helpful)

Am also surprised that you lose posts. My sense is that for a post to leave the frontpage takes a couple of days to a week. Do you keep tabs open that long? Or are you finding the posts somewhere else?

Often a friend would link me to a post that had already been around for a week or two when I read it.

I find this forum increasingly difficult to navigate
My impression, incidentally, is that the search functionality is decidedly better than it was on the old forum: the search results seem to be more related to what I'm looking for, and be easier to sort through (eg separating 'comments' and 'posts')

For what it's worth, my main concerns are the visual navigation (esp filtering and sorting) rather than a search feature - the latter I find Google invariably better for, as long as you can persuade the bots to index frequently.


I find this forum increasingly difficult to navigate

(also worth noting that for me it'd be really helpful to have a user-categorisation or tagging system, so we could easily filter by subject matter. Even just old-school subforums would be swell, but the ideal might be allowing non-authors to tag posts as well)

What's the best structure for optimal allocation of EA capital?

A less drastic option would be for OpenPhil to just hire more research staff. I think there's some argument for this given that they're apparently struggling to find ways to distribute their money:

1) a new researcher doesn't need to be as valuable as Holden to have positive EV against the counterfactual of the money sitting around waiting for Holden to find somewhere to donate it to in 5 years

2) the more researchers are hired, even (/especially) when they're ones who Holden doesn't agree with, the more they guard against the risk of any blind spots/particular passions etc of Holden's coming to dominate and causing missed opportunities, since ultimately as far as I can tell there aren't really other strong feedback mechanisms on the grants he ends up making than internal peer review.

(I wouldn't argue strongly for this, but I haven't seen a counterpoint to these arguments that I find compelling)

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